You can't buy a Hyundai Staria, but you can rent one...

DriveYou service offers access to Hyundai Staria van, and a lot more.
Neil Briscoe
Neil Briscoe

Published on June 12, 2023

The Hyundai Staria has been getting motoring enthusiasts of a certain ilk all of a froth recently. Yes, it's a mid-sized van and people carrier, roughly akin to a Korean answer to the Transit Custom, but it gets some of the same avant garde styling touches as Hyundai's passenger car models, so it looks rather more thrilling than the average delivery hauler.

You can buy the Staria in other European markets, fitted with a seven-seat MPV interior, but here in Ireland the Staria is yet to go on sale, so if you fancy one, you're out of luck.

Well, almost. You can't buy a Staria, but as long as you're happy to roll around in the three-seat van version, you can rent one. That's thanks to a new instant-rental service called DriveYou.

DriveYou isn't strictly speaking run by Hyundai Ireland, but it is part of the wider group including Hyundai Ireland, and it will use exclusively Hyundai vehicles. Mostly those will be i10, i20 and i30 hatchbacks, but there are already a number of Staria vans available, and so if you need to haul a load, but want to do it in style, time to get downloading the app.

DriveYou is a rival to the likes of GoCar and Toyota's Yuko service, in that it has been designed around micro-rentals. Instead of taking a rental car - or van - for several days, you just grab one (from a series of on-street locations) as and when you need it.

DriveYou aims to have 250 vehicles to rent

"We aim to have 250 vehicles available by the end of the year," Johnathan Roche, head of DriveYou, told "The cars will be parked on the street and in apartment complexes. The costs are between €9-€10 per hour, or €50-55 per day, depending on what you need and which model you choose. And we give each user 75 complimentary kilometres per day."

That's more than the likes of GoCar or Yuko, and on top of that all your fuel and insurance costs are covered - there's a Circle K fuel card in each vehicle, and the DriveYou app gives you the PIN to use that when you need to. There is a €1,000 insurance excess, but that can be reduced if you're a regular user.

"There's a huge market for mobility and car-sharing," says Roche. "We're only scratching the surface of that market so far. Electric cars will change that model though, they'll open up even more demand for services such as this, but we need the charging infrastructure to improve before we can start to offer EVs."

Vans are particularly popular

The Staria vans are going to be important for DriveYou because experience with other instant-rental providers has shown that vans are hugely popular with renters. "We couldn't believe it initially," says Roche. "You want to go to the garden centre? Or the recycling centre? The vans are hugely popular; indeed at weekends it can be hard to get a booking for one."

I can't help but think that the Staria might drive that popularity higher again. There's a 4.9-cubic-metre load space behind the driver's compartment, which should tackle all but the bulkiest loads, and the maximum carrying capacity is just over a tonne.

Up front, the Staria looks and feels a bit more upmarket than most vans. Sure, there's the usual grey plastic that you expect, but the driver gets a set of smart digital instruments, and there's a useful touchscreen - with Apple CarPlay - in the centre. The seat is comfortable and the driving position feels a bit more natural and car-like than what you'd get in the equivalent Transit.

Of course, it's the outside that's really the cooler bit, with some of the 'Pixel' light design from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 dotted around the place. Wrapped in the white-and-purple livery of DriveYou, it maybe looks like most other delivery vans, but we've seen the passenger versions finished in dark metallics with nice alloy wheels, and those versions of the Staria look classy as.
What's it like to drive? Well, it's a van but it's not one that feels excessively big nor hefty. The steering is light and easy to get on with, and if the 177hp 2.2-litre diesel engine is a bit old-school, then at least it gives perky performance and decent fuel economy. The Staria's ride is a bit bouncy over urban lumps, but a bit more weight in the back would probably sort much of that out.

What this short spin in the van version really shows is that it's a shame that we don't get the MPV version of the Staria here in Ireland. There isn't a hybrid version of that seven-seat Staria yet, but you can easily imagine Hyundai making one at some point down the road, and if that happens then you can wave a happy goodbye to your SUVs - a Staria would easily out-cool and out-carry any supposed 4x4.

In the meantime? Find an excuse to need a van and go and rent one.